Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
PHOENIX, Ariz. (March 7. 2016) – Arizona media apparently has little interest in informing Arizonans about what is going on in their state legislature if it doesn’t fit its agenda.
Last week, the Arizona Tenth Amendment Center hosted a press conference in support of nine measures making their way through the state House and Senate that would serve to limit federal power and reestablish state control. Several state legislators showed up, but zero members of the media bothered to take advantage of an opportunity to learn about an important movement currently gathering momentum in the Arizona State Legislature.
The press conference highlighted nine bills pending in the Arizona Legislature that would serve to limit federal power in some way. Legislation addressing constitutional tender, the right to keep and bear arms, NDAA indefinite detention, presidential executive orders and asset forfeiture law reform were among those featured. These aren’t bills simply languishing in committees. Legislation to prohibit state cooperation with federal indefinite detention without due process, to define gold and silver as legal tender and to bar state cooperation with the enforcement of future federal gun control have all passed one chamber of the legislature.
But this apparently doesn’t count as news in the Grand Canyon State, and major media players don’t deem it an important responsibility to inform Arizonans about these initiatives. The Arizona TAC sent out some 50 invitations to members of the media.
Rep. Sonny Borrelli suggested the press might suffer from partisan bias, noting that the media has a long tradition of ignoring Republican efforts to inform the electorate while Democrats can garner media attention, “at the drop of a hat.”
Prominent Arizona activist Joel Alcott said it was no coincidence that the press ignored the event. He said that because these bills are among the most controversial before the legislature this session, it was a deliberate move to avoid lending them any additional credibility.
The press might not care about efforts to limit federal power, but Arizonans do. The proposed laws build on a state constitutional amendment passed in 2014 that enshrined the anti-commandeering doctrine in the Arizona constitution. The amendment explicitly affirms the state’s right to “exercise its sovereign authority to restrict the actions of its personnel and the use of its financial resources to purposes that are consistent with the Constitution.”
Since Arizona voters approved the measure, efforts to put it into action have stepped up with legislators introducing numerous bills.
Journalists love to talk about their responsibility to the people and opine about their integral role in democratic self-government. They sometimes even refer to themselves as the “Fourth Estate.” But in practice, it seems like nothing more than pious talk. In the real world, far too many media outlets have become shills for the status quo and left-leaning establishment politics. That may sound unfair, but the crickets at the Arizona TAC presser testifies to this truth.